Buying Your New Home
As you interview and speak with real estate agents and Realtors, you’ll start noticing acronyms such as CRS and ABR on these professionals’ business cards. What exactly do these designations mean to you and the home buying process? Once you’re aware these specialties exist, it may influence your selection process.

Through training courses, a real estate agent can become accredited as a Certified Relocation Professional, Senior Certified Relocation Professional or a Global Mobility Specialist, which entitles the agent to include the professional designation of CRP, SCRP or GMS after his or her name. These specialists are experienced in assisting families in their relocation needs, whether the move is within the U.S. or internationally. In addition to helping you find a home, a relocation specialist can provide information about schools, day and senior care, recreation opportunities, spouse employment, cross-cultural issues and cost of living. Usually, each large real estate firm has relocation professionals on staff to assist relocating families.

CRS specialists have completed advanced training in residential real estate and in related areas such as finance, technology and marketing. These specialists have a proven track record of sales transactions required to earn the CRS designation. In addition, less than 4 percent of all licensed Realtors are CRS designees. In working with a CRS specialist, buyers are glad to know that every CRS designee is required to maintain membership in the National Association of Realtors and to abide by its strict subheader of ethics.

An Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation represents best-in-class buyer services because they have made an extra effort to raise the bar with additional training in serving you, the homebuyer. A buyer’s agent is someone who represents only the buyer’s interests in the negotiations and has the understanding to better recognize home buyers particular needs. Plus, a Realtor who has an ABR designation also has an established track record, with proven experience in representing the concerns of homebuyers.

Real estate agency relationships, like all business relationships, can be formed in a number of ways. In order to help talk through your options, here are several questions to ask your buyer’s representative:
  1. Do you represent buyers, sellers or both?
  2. What services are provided to (or excluded from) me, based on my status as a buyer-customer or buyer-client?
  3. When does representation begin? When does it conclude?
  4. If I’m not ready to commit to your normal term, can you offer me a one-day buyer agency agreement or a 24-hour opt-out clause?
  5. How is dual agency addressed in your firm?

Once you’ve formalized an agency relationship, typically by signing an agreement with a buyer’s representative, you should expect him or her to understand your specific needs and to locate appropriate properties. The representative often previews and/or accompanies you when viewing properties and researches these properties to identify any problems or issues you should consider. The buyer’s representative will be able to assist you in determining how much you can afford if you have not already prequalified your mortgage and advise you in formulating your offer as well as developing your negotiation strategy. It is typical for the buyer’s representative to provide a list of potential qualified vendors, such as inspectors, attorneys and lenders, for other related services that may be needed. All details of the entire transaction, from closing to beyond, should be tracked by the buyer’s representative.

In addition to helping find you a home, an agent serves as the “manager” of a larger team and is responsible for coordinating other team players at the appropriate time in the process. These other team players include the mortgage company, inspectors, the title company, insurance company and possibly an attorney.

Your agent should be able to perform the following as part of his service to you:
  • Be knowledgeable about and be able to explain the property tax system in Texas.
  • Provide assistance in creating a budget that will ultimately set the home price.
  • Explain deed restrictions, homeowner’s associations and zoning.
  • Be knowledgeable of Texas exemptions and community property laws.
  • Guide you on purchasing a new home or a resale home.
  • Ensure you view neighborhood and homes within your price range.
  • Be able to negotiate not only home purchase price but financing, terms and date of possession.
  • Be able to properly communicate requirements and explain the contract and other required documents.
  • Be able to attend all inspections.
  • Be able to monitor, follow up and expedite paperwork among all parties involved.

The National Association of Realtors provides this list of important differences to consider when selecting a real estate professional to represent your home-buying interests. All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) are properly called Realtors. When you begin your home search, consider using a member of the San Antonio Board of REALTORS(SABOR).

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